Series: Follow Me Back #1
Rating: 1 STAR
Tessa Hart’s world feels very small. Confined to her bedroom with agoraphobia, her one escape is the online fandom for pop sensation Eric Thorn. When he tweets to his fans, it’s like his speaking directly to her…
Eric Thorn is frightened by his obsessive fans. They take their devotion way too far. It doesn’t help that his PR team keeps posting to encourage their fantasies.
When a fellow pop star is murdered at the hands of a fan, Eric knows he has to do something to shatter his online image fast—like take down one of his top Twitter followers. But Eric’s plan to troll @TessaHeartsEric unexpectedly evolves into an online relationship deeper than either could have imagined. And when the two arrange to meet IRL, what should have made for the world’s best episode of Catfish takes a deadly turn…
Told through tweets, direct messages, and police transcripts.
So, originally, I was super pumped to read this. A YA mystery/thriller that uses a unique format? Count me in! I’m a huge fan of thrillers, and I’m always there to read thrillers in the YA genre, since they’re really lacking. After being approved for this one, my interest slightly waned when I learned that this was originally published on Wattpad. Not shaming Wattpad or anything (I’ve read amazing boyxboy stories on there, which is mainly what I read nowadays), but most of their stories, especially the extremely cliché ones, can definitely be a bit juvenile. And this one definitely reminded me of why I don’t read Wattpad stories about straight couples anymore.
1. Eric Thorn was a total douchebag. He’s one of the main characters of the novel and also one of the POVs, and being in his head for more than one page drove me up a wall. I’m guessing I was supposed to empathize with him because his record label is trying to change him from this sweet boy-next-door who’s all deep and such into a shallow boy with manufactured songs, but I didn’t. He continually puts down his fans, implying that they’re idiots and all sex-obsessed and that they don’t really care about him (no, Eric, no they don’t. That’s because they DON’T KNOW YOU), but, of course ~Tessa~ knows all about him and is different from all the other girls. Excuse me while I roll my eyes.
Not to mention his horrible songs. “Aloe Vera”? “Snowflake”? Please tell me who in the world would actually listen to a song titled “Aloe Vera” in this day and age.
2. It had one of the worst romances I’ve ever seen. As you can see from the synopsis, Eric sets up a second account under an alias and ends up communicating with Tessa that way. In the span of a couple of months, Eric apparently falls in love with her? It made absolutely no sense. The two of them are simply talking over Twitter DMs, and before you know it, BAM! Eric’s talking about how much he loves her even though he knows next-to-nothing about her, and then before they’re going to meet, Tessa pours out her love for him, even though we never see this develop on her end. It’s utterly ridiculous.
3. The way Tessa’s agoraphobia was addressed. She’s traumatized by something that happened at camp, and decides to stay locked up in her room after that. I just really hated how literally everyone around her treated her like garbage. Her boyfriend, Scott, assumes that just because she feels like she might be ready to walk outside the house that she’ll want to attend some crowded fraternity party (???) and her mom is very short and impatient with her, which I found more concerning. She gets frustrated when Tessa isn’t mentally ready to go outside and sit for a couple of minutes, and her attitude was just so bad. And then, we reach the end of the book, and it’s as if it never even mattered, in my opinion. I just didn’t see the point of it being in the plot.
4. This is barely a thriller. But, for real though. This isn’t really a thriller. This is basically a contemporary that just slaps thriller elements into it in the most ridiculous manner near the final chapters of the book, and that’s basically it. I have to say, even though basically nothing happens, I still ended up being addicted to its pages. So, there was that.
4. The nonsensical ending. We reach the end of the book, and we find out that Tessa is an undercover psychopath and that she murdered Eric and that she’s fled to Mexico to escape punishment??? Here’s the thing. I’ve already seen this happen twice before: once in With Malice by Eileen Cook and once in Dangerous Girls by Abigail Haas, both YA thrillers. So far, Dangerous Girls is the only book to have nailed this. The main character is revealed to have murdered her best friend, but the reason it worked and was such a brilliant plot twist was because the foreshadowing is subtle throughout the entire book, and the last sentence ties it all together. With Malice also did the same thing, and, in my opinion, failed, not only because it was WAY too similar to Dangerous Girls, but also because it just didn’t make sense. We see the main character and how she acts and thinks, and then the final chapters come in, and all of a sudden, she decided to make a last-minute decision to murder her friend out of nowhere. That’s how this felt like. We have zero indication or foreshadowing that Tessa is a psychopath. She seems like a very sweet, shy girl who’s suffering from agoraphobia, and there’s nothing to show she’s an obsessive fangirl who’s out to murder.
Not to mention that this is the most elaborate plot I’ve ever seen. In order for everything to even work out, this means that Tessa had to:
1. Have agoraphobia
2. Write an Eric Thorn fanfiction on Wattpad
3. Create a hashtag and hope that it ends up trending and catching Eric’s eye
4. Somehow play a part in Dorian’s murder to make Eric anxious
5. Get Eric to create a second Twitter account to troll himself
6. Get him to target her and start talking to her
7. Build a relationship over a period of five months
8. Get a crazed fangirl to attack Eric onstage, making him even more anxious
9. Get Eric to fall in love with her
10. Cause Eric to make up a whole contest just to meet her
11. Plan the fact that Blair was going to pretend to be Eric by hacking into his account
12. Escape and not die at the hands of Blair
13. Actually meet Eric
14. Actually carry out the murder
It literally makes no sense. I know there’s a sequel coming out next year that might reveal things, but it’s so frustrating because nothing adds up. There’s not even a reason or motivation for her to kill him. There’s no context or build-up. It just seems like a plot twist tacked on so people can be like, “OMG!!! Never saw that coming!!!” but I’ve seen it before so many times, that it just made me annoyed.
All in all, a huge disappointment. I honestly don’t recommend this book, and I’m sure you can tell since I gave it one star, and if you know me, I rarely give out one stars for books I’ve actually completed. Apparently, everyone seems to love this one, so I’ll take the position of black sheep, I guess!
Even though I didn’t like this book, a huge thanks to Sourcebooks Fire for giving me a free copy of the book via Netgalley!